Emerging trends on domestic tourism

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There is a rising need for hotel owners and tour operators to design products and packages for the emerging group of millennial travelers who may not be keen on luxury as compared to convenience, budget and flexibility.

According to Eugene Too, the Online Revenue Manager for The Panari Hotel, the lower gap in the current millennial bracket is very clear on what they are looking for, which is usually fun and adventure. It is therefore important for providers to mark up their facilities if they want to capture this growing market.

Mr Too’s observations were reiterated by Alfrida Boinett, CEO for Private Collections who said, “this group of travelers are the future of the industry and therefore any brand keen on building loyalty must be ready to accommodate them and grow with them.”

They were speaking last month at the launch of Jumia Travel Report on domestic tourism in Kenya, which looks, in-depth, at the key trends in the sector. The report contains a number of observations and recommendations touching on key areas such as type of travelers, purpose of travel and adoption of technology in the local sub-sector.

On his part, Cyrus Onyiego, Country Manager for Jumia Travel, cited lack of awareness and knowledge as a major challenge hampering growth in domestic tourism.
“Travel is still viewed as a luxurious affair, simply because the (consumer) has very little knowledge on the product,” Onyiego said and called on stakeholders to come up with customized and personalized products for the market keeping in mind the culture, lifestyle and budget needs for local travelers.

Ms Boinett, who runs among other properties Naivasha Kongoni Lodge, Poa Place in Eldoret and Swahili House in Mombasa also observed a new trend in family travel. “Families want to travel as one, stay together and share experiences without unnecessary restrictions; this has brought about a new demand for self-catering cottages and family friendly packages,” she said.

According to the report, 51% of travelers are family. While slightly more than half of local bookings on Jumia Travel consist of either nuclear or extended families on holiday, only 13% are made of friends traveling as a group. Further, the report indicates that single or individual travelers are equally popular, while business travelers take up 23% of the total bookings.

Most interesting however, is the observation that men are more popular e-travel consumers than women, with the ratio of male travelers almost doubling that of women at 64% as compared to women at 36%.

A comparative report on Nigeria defies the Kenyan statistics, however, with individual travelers totaling to 65%, while only 6% travel as family.

Key takeaways on regions and destinations

Coast region leads as the most popular destination for Kenyans at 30%, while still maintaining the same percentage in the number of room nights registered on the booking platform.

Nairobi follows closely behind, with 29% of local travelers headed for the city’s room nights, which occupies 27% on the percentage sharing of rooms available on Jumia Travel.
Naivasha and Nakuru, which are both growing as conference centers as well as major escape destinations for leisure and short holidays, take up a combined percentage of 17% in visitor numbers. The region contributes 10% of room nights on Jumia Travel.

Kisumu and Eldoret are marked out as growing centers partly because of Lake Victoria as an attraction and also as an entry point for cross border travel. Other factors such as Devolution and destination awareness campaigns also contribute to the growing attention the two towns are currently enjoying.

Mount Kenya accounts for 7% of the nation’s total room nights, while taking up 5% of local travelers.

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